Yesterday the Seattle Times reported that Sheriff Sue Rahr is seeking control over contract negotiations with deputies. Then last night, King County Executive Office Chief of Staff Kurt Triplett told the Charter Review Commission that Ron Sims would like to see the Sheriff become an appointed rather than an elected position. Triplett says that would make the office more accountable--the woman in front of me shook her head at that--as well as easier to get rid of someone if problems arise.
Asking for more control of a position already in existence is a little politically tricky. Triplett was careful to say that the last two elected sheriffs have been well suited to their positions. A hearing on the Sheriff's Department's progress on improvements recommended by a panel last year was rescheduled to tonight at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers.
Triplett also asked that the commission keep the County Elections Director an appointed position. Earlier this month, nearly 57 percent of King County voters approved Initiative 25, which places a charter amendment on the 2008 ballot making the position elected. Last night there was speculation on the ability of the commission to declare that the Charter cannot be changed by Initiative. But even if King County can create such a restriction on changing the charter, former Secretary of State Ralph Munro says an elected elections director is a good thing as it puts people in the position who will need to be accountable to voters again and are more inclined to find innovative ways of making an election run smoothly.